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The role of women in sculpture has become a focal point of research in my practice by confronting and challenging the social aspects of gender relations through performative actions. The presence of women in industry, specifically foundry work continues to bear concerns and prove challenging. Recent contextual influences have included Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975 who was focused on punctuating the rage of frustration of oppressive women’s roles and exploring the transformation of the woman. These ambitious and empowering works have initiated a focus in my practice to closely examine maintenance and action art; and to consider how I can utilise space to conform with contemporary performative sculptural works.

Martha Rosler Semiotics of the Kitchen 1975

In this performance Rosler takes on the role of an apron-clad housewife and parodies the television cooking demonstrations popularized by Julia Child in the 1960s. Standing in a kitchen, surrounded by refrigerator, table, and stove, she moves through the alphabet from A to Z, assigning a letter to the various tools found in this domestic space. Wielding knives, a nutcracker, and a rolling pin, she warms to her task, her gestures sharply punctuating the rage and frustration of oppressive women’s roles. Rosler has said of this work, “I was concerned with something like the notion of ‘language speaking the subject,’ and with the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represent a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity.”

Rosler among others such as Judy Chicago, Mary Kelly and Mierle Laderman Ukeles engage in speculative feminist utopian thought by which they attempt to rearticulate the terms of public and private in ways that might fashion new possibilities for both spheres and the labor they entail. Rosler’s interest in labor is what has driven a key focus in my current practice through an exploration of process (casting) and material (iron).